Dr Karen Mattock discusses BabyLab research in The Daily Telegraph

MARCS BabyLab researcher Dr Karen Mattock was recently featured in an article published in The Daily Telegraph.

The article, published on Saturday 27 September 2014, discussed research showing children as young as two instinctively use mathematical concepts such as probability while playing.

Commenting on the research, Dr Mattock said the study showcased how curious toddlers could make sense of the world around them.

"Toddlers are little scientists who are acting on the world to make sense of it, and games like this help them learn about the natural order of things," Dr Mattock told The Daily Telegraph.

"What's interesting is that toddler's are learning the probability relations just from watching an adult act on the objects — the adult was not giving them any hints and was not verbally describing the events, yet toddlers could still learn what pattern of action was going to be more successful."

In the interview, Dr Mattock also commented that the presence of the adult was very important, which showed learning by example was a prime prompter of new skills.

"This has implications for early learning interventions as it highlights that children learn best from watching other people act on the world," she said.

"It seems that toddlers do have the capacity to learn mathematical principles, when the conditions are right — when there is a parent or teacher to learn from, when the mathematical concepts are presented as part of a fun and exciting game, and when you just let them watch."

Dr Mattock investigates language development at MARCS BabyLab with particular focus on speech perception and babbling in infancy and word learning in infants, children and adults using phonetic, constraints, socio-pragmatic, cross-situational, and sound-symbolic approaches.

You can find out more about research conducted at MARCS BabyLab by visiting our research page.